Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Gulch Pond or bust

On Labour Day weekend Paddle Newfoundland and Labrador had its level II kayak camp trip for the year.  On Saturday six of us met at Garden Cove to paddle down the inside channel between Sound, Woody and Bar Haven Islands and the Burin Peninsula to Gulch Pond.

The line up for the trip included Dean, Hazen, Julie, Lee, Ron and myself.  We arrived in Garden Cove Saturday morning under mainly sunny skies and just a gentle NE breeze.  The wind forecast was NW 20 kms gusting to 33 in the morning backing to W25 gusting to 44 in the afternoon.  All within level II conditions.

The beautiful weather put a bounce in everyone's step as we hastened between the cars and kayaks to load our gear.

Just after 11:00 we were on our way crossing the bay towards the north end of Sound Island that would lead us into the ...

... channel south.  On the left is Sound Island, on the right is the Burin Peninsula and floating on the horizon was Woody Island.

Once we turned south we were in the wind shadow under the land.  At Bob Sprier Cove some of us forced the loaded kayaks over the sandbar or paddled around the, at high tide, island.

The month of August was a wet month.  Everywhere water ran off the land, at some places in torrents.

At Rattling Brook it was more like Roaring Brook.  The Brook falls into a pool before pouring over the final seven meter high hurdle into the sea.  I got out of my kayak and took a path up to the pool to look ...

... down upon my paddling friends admiring the falls from below.  Its not Niagara Falls but I had to be careful not to get caught in the current and get washed over.

By 2:00 we reached the bottom of Sound Island where we could look between it and Woody Island.  It was still good paddling with no wind to speak of.

An hour later things changed as the wind picked up and backed to blow in our faces.  We paddled into La Plante Cove for respite from the wind.  I stayed in my kayak while the others got out.  By 3:30 I figured I'd paddle on towards Gulch Pond taking my time so as to let the rest catch up.

The wind steadily increased to the lower end of force 5 with winds over 15 knots and gusts to to 20.  As the wind picked up I paddled more purposefully and kept looking back for the others.  With no sign of them I just kept on until I reached the entrance to Gulch Pond at 5:00.  The water was flowing out of the pond at (turns out) 11.5 kms/hr.  I hand lined the kayak up into the pond to wait for everyone else.

After 30 minutes I wondered where they were so I got back in my kayak, flew down the outgoing current to have a look up the coast.  At 5:45 they arrived and we all hauled our kayaks into the pond and ...

... set up our tents.  While it was windy in the bay, it was calm in the protected confines of Gulch Pond.

There is ample camp ground at Gulch Pond as it was once the location of the community of Gulch.  The census of 1921 showed there were 60 inhabitants in 10 households.  I do not know when the community was resettled but it was a long time ago.  There were no hints left that there was ever a community here.

A supper feast awaited us ...


  1. Nice shots Tony! Your a speed demon on the water that's for certain! And what a supper it was!

  2. Thanks Lee but a speed demon I'm not. After I left La Plante Cove I just ticked along hoping to let you guys catch up but the wind didn't let it happen. I covered the 7 kms at a modest 5.0 kms/hr. I wasn't concerned for the rest of the group as you were all together and capable of looking after yourselves.

    Tony :-)